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Cross-cultural and neuropsychological perspectives on shamanism reveal that it produces an adaptive integrative mode of consciousness. Shamanic altered states of consciousness (ASC) are related to brain organization and processes, showing shamanism's concern with socioemotional and self functions of the paleomammalian brain and cognitive capacities based in presentational symbolism, metaphor, analogy, and mimesis. Integration of cross-cultural and neurological perspectives illustrates homologies which reveal the psychobiological basis of shamanism and soul journeys, guardian spirits, death and rebirth, and other universal forms of shamanic cognition.

Shamanic contributions to sociocultural and cognitive evolution are examined. The integrative mode of consciousness produced by shamanic ASC is related to general brain functions. Specific psychophysiological functions of ASC and their variations cross-culturally are illustrated. Shamanic soul journey, possession, and meditative forms of consciousness are examined from phenomenological, neurological, and epistemological perspectives which reveal them to be innate forms of cognition and practices for manipulating perception, attention, cognition, emotion, self, and identity. Shamanistic healing involves physically and culturally mediated forms of adaptation to stress which are reinforced by procedures eliciting opioid release. Therapeutic effectiveness of shamanistic practices are illustrated by clinical research. Shamanistic healing includes procedures for altering physiological, psychological, and emotional responses. Contemporary spontaneous religious experiences and illness characterized as spiritual emergencies have shamanic roots and illustrate the continued relevance of shamanic paradigms.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897897044
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL WINKELMAN is Senior Lecturer & Director, Ethnographic Field School, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 Shamanism and Consciousness: An Introduction 1
Introduction: Anthropology and the Study of Consciousness 2
The Nature of Consciousness 9
A Neurophenomenological Approach to Consciousness 23
Brain Structures and Consciousness: The Triune Brain 29
Symbolic Consciousness: Presentational and Representational Modalities 38
2 The Nature and Basis of Shamanism: Cross-Cultural and Neurophenomenological Perspectives 57
The Phenomena of Shamanism 58
The Shaman As an Etic Phenomenon 63
The Shaman's Initiatory Crisis 78
Visionary Experience: Soul Flight and the Guardian Spirit Quest 85
Shamanic Spirit Relations and Self-Transformation 93
Shamanism and Psychocognitive Integration 101
3 Physiological and Phenomenological Bases of Altered States of Consciousness 113
Cultural and Altered States of Consciousness 115
Modes, States, Phases, and Warps of Consciousness 117
Different ASCs in the Integrative Mode of Consciousness 124
The Biological Basis of the Integrative Mode of Consciousness 127
Psychophysiology of the Shaman's ASC 146
The Mediums and Possession ASC 154
Meditative ASC 163
4 Physiological Bases of Shamanistic Therapies 191
General Physiological Bases for Shamanistic Therapies 192
Stress and Well-Being: Ritual Effects on the Autonomic Nervous System 201
Therapeutic Effects of Hallucinogens 209
Neurotransmitters, Psychointegrators, and Organismic Functioning 217
Meditation as Therapy 223
5 Psychophysiological Dynamics of Shamanistic Healing 231
Ritual Healing: Forms and Functions 232
Medicine's Symbolic Reality 236
Neurognosis, Biosocialization, and Symbolic Penetration 243
Psychosocial Dimensions of Shamanistic and Religious Healing 251
Shamanic Illness and Spiritual Emergency 262
Possession Illness and Therapy 267
Meditative Effects of Self and Emotions 273
Bibliography 277
Index 307
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